Barn maintenance with careless clients...
Okay... I'm venting while working through a tactful, but direct way of telling a group of people (including three adults, one of whom is an instructor at our barn, and two children) that they need to clean up our arena walls. I'm pretty sure there is no way to approach this scenario without sounding condescending.
We (my partner and I) do ALL of the work around our facility ourselves - just the two of us. Generally, twice a year we deweb and dust the arena walls and ceiling - We have a large, clean indoor arena with very fine sand footing. So fine that no amount of watering will prevent a bit of dust build-up over time. The arena is completely enclosed, so that the horses in their stalls won't be exposed to excessive dust (as much as possible).
A week ago, one of the "other" instructor's students (who was riding with her brother and mother during the lesson) thought it would be funny to drag her hand along the walls of our arena, which are white drywall walls that get dusty very quickly. The girl did this on both of the long walls of the arena, the ENTIRE length of the arena. TWICE!!! AND, even wrote a brief message to her sibling in the dust. I should mention, it is fairly faint at this point, but you can still see it.
I'm baffled as to why a: the instructor didn't say "Hey, don't do that, thank you!" and b: why the mother, who was taking part in the lesson didn't say "CHILDREN! Don't do that!" Or, you know, something to that effect. So, now there are two wavy lines going around our arena and a "HI BROTHER!" message on our wall. Oh... the "children" are teenagers, btw. The instructor KNOWS my partner and I take pride in maintaining our facility, and we get complimented ALL THE TIME about how clean our facility is - people are baffled that it is just my partner and I that maintain it. Except, apparently, the arena walls. I had just dusted the walls at the beginning of October.
I want to say something to the people (because it is really, really awful and tacky looking), and ask them to now continue the "fine" dusting job they started. We have a TON of work, cleaning up after 18 horses and working on the never-ending list of projects (cleaning, repairs, and everything else you can think of). We don't charge our clients enough to maintain employees that we can assign to pick up the messes we can't get to right now. It certainly was not on my list to spend any amount of my afternoon to dust the arena walls AGAIN, after having just done this less than two months ago! I mean... how about I go to their house, in the kitchen with white walls, and grab a sponge and write them a message? Inevitably, it would show up because kitchens tend to get a build-up from cooking evaporation on the walls. THAT would not be acceptable - why in the world would anybody think that this would be?
Anybody have any suggestions on how to let people know that this type of "temporary" defacing of our property is UNACCEPTABLE without sounding like a complete tyrant? I'm feeling like one right now... literally, I want to interrupt their lesson, hand them a broom and say "Don't worry about paying for your lesson this evening - tonight is going to be a lesson in barn management. My arena walls looks terrible, please spend the next hour completing the dust job you started."
I know - I sound like a monster, right? Grrrrrr... I do a lot of venting here because it allows me an outlet where I can get input from other professionals before taking steps (so, just rest assured, I'm not chasing these people down, giving them dirty looks or making snide comments until I decide what to do). So, thanks to anyone who read this. Just... grrrrrrr!
Last edited by sillyhorses; 11-15-2012 at 01:21 PM.